Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. has a contract with the Peruvian National Police to provide security services at its Constancia mine in Peru, according to records obtained by a Peruvian human rights group.
Ruth Iberra Luque, a representative of the organization Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras (Human Rights Without Borders), released records she obtained through a 2014 public records request showing that at least 14 multi-national mining companies have contracts with the Peruvian National Police, according to an Oct. 28 article in Diario Uno.
The agreements call for the mining companies to pay police about $30 per day, which converts to about 100 Peruvian Soles per day. The average monthly wage in Peru in Sept. 2016 was 1,702 Soles, according to the Trading Economics website.
In return, the national police are providing private mining companies with protection. Police routinely quash demonstrations by the communities who are protesting because their rights are being violated by mining companies, Luque says.
The question of whether Hudbay had a contract with the Peruvian National Police was featured in the 2015 documentary Flin Flon Flim Flam, which examined Hudbay’s worldwide operations in Manitoba, Guatemala, Peru and Arizona.
The documentary includes footage of Peruvian National Police firing teargas and beating demonstrators who were blocking a road near Hudbay’s Constancia mine in Uchucarrco, Peru during a Nov. 2014 protest.
Police have been involved in many shooting deaths during mine protests in Peru, including the $10 billion, Chinese-owned Las Bambas Mine where a man was shot and killed last month and three others were killed during 2015 protests. An estimated 15,000 people took part in the 2015 protests, and Peruvian authorities sent 1,500 police officers and 150 soldiers to the area.
The Las Bambas mine is located northeast of Hudbay’s Constancia project. Protestors often focus on blocking narrow, treacherous mine ore haul roads that twist through the Andes. Copper extracted from the Peru’s southern copper belt that includes Las Bambas, and Constancia is exported overseas from the newly upgraded port in Matarani.
Hudbay CEO Alan Hair told analysts during a Nov. 3 conference call that the Las Bambas protests have not impacted Constancia operations. “At this stage, we’ve been unaffected by what’s happened at Las Bambas,” Hair said.
Hudbay is facing three civil trials in Toronto in connection with its use of security forces in Guatemala when it owned a nickel mine near El Estor. The company’s security forces stand accused of the murder of a Mayan community leader who was shot and hacked to death with machetes and another man shot and left paralyzed on the same day in September 2009.
The third suit alleges Hudbay security forces, military and police gang-raped a dozen Mayan women in 2007 when the mine was owned by Skye Resources. Hudbay acquired Skye Resources in 2008 and assumed liability for the gang rape allegations.
Hudbay denies it was involved in the human rights abuses alleged in the lawsuits.